Contributor Network Editorial Standards & Guidelines
NewsBreak connects and empowers local audiences, contributors and businesses with the goal of helping people everywhere live safer, more vibrant, more truly-connected lives. We provide communities access to accurate information so they can make important decisions about their lives. Our Contributors are a big part of our effort to inform and inspire communities by providing them credible and trustworthy information about the world around them.
Our Contributor Editorial Standards & Guidelines apply to all Contributors on NewsBreak that submit original content. Failure to comply with these guidelines can lead to disciplinary action such as restricting distribution and/or up to and including deplatforming.
Contributor’s content may be removed if they do not comply with NewsBreak’s Editorial Standards & Guidelines.
You can also click here to read the guidelines in full.
Accuracy & Fact-Checking
NewsBreak takes the accuracy of content on its platform very seriously. NewsBreak prohibits the publication of rumor, hearsay or unvetted information. Attempts to deliberately mislead or introduce misinformation are grounds for account termination. The introduction of provably false information into stories is also grounds for account termination.
All Contributors are responsible for fact-checking their own stories. Our internal editorial team may remove stories that do not appear to be properly fact-checked, but it is the responsibility of the Contributor to submit verified and accurate information for publication.
We believe it’s important to present all relevant sides of a story. Contributors should not intentionally omit information that helps provide the whole picture or adds vital context to understanding a story. That said, it’s equally important not to draw a false moral equivalency where none exists. Contributors should be motivated to get as close to the truth as they can.
Contributors should only refer to the race, gender, or sexuality of an individual if it is germane to the story.
Specifically for Journalist Contributors and/or those doing reporting in their pieces, a reasonable amount of time must be allowed for comment from organizations, officials and/or individuals mentioned in a story.
Contributors must attribute all facts that reasonably could be challenged (in other words, are not well-understood common knowledge). This includes information received first-hand from police, politicians, officials, victims, or any other entity providing the information. If a Contributor is quoting from a document (such as email or a press release), she should indicate so. Original reporting is preferred, but when citing others’ work, Contributors must attribute to the original source unless that source itself lacks credibility.
When referencing other reporting, it must be hyperlinked and video and tweets should be embedded unless those sources are not credible.
The use of unnamed sources in all storytelling is not allowed only when a source would put themselves in jeopardy by publicly revealing their name. We typically require three unnamed sources to confirm information before a story can be published.
In a non-news context such as advice or relationship columns, Contributors who are recounting experiences of others must never present the experience as their own. Contributors are therefore required to disclose that such an account was told to them by a third party. This disclosure must be made in text at the top of the article just below the headline.
The role of a Journalist Contributor is to remain impartial. Journalist Contributors should seek to avoid bias in their storytelling.
The Impartiality policy does not apply to Contributors who were brought onto the platform specifically to offer their opinions on local happenings, politics, restaurants, etc. But Journalists and Subject Matter Experts should refrain from political or social commentary unless they have been expressly invited or approved to write commentary. In these cases, Contributors writing political commentary must disclose their political leanings in their NewsBreak profile bio.
Fabrication of information presented as fact is strictly prohibited on NewsBreak. Falsifying information presented as fact will result in immediate deplatforming.
Contributors must accurately quote individuals, sources and/or documents and never take words or actions out of context. Where quotes have been shortened for length, Contributors should indicate that’s the case by using an ellipses.
The use of clickbait by Contributors is prohibited. NewsBreak defines clickbait as a headline or photo that deliberately teases, misleads or omits key information in order to elicit clicks or where the headline does not accurately represent the article’s content.
Prior Review from Sources
We prohibit Contributors from sending stories to sources for approval prior to their publication. In some cases, a source may ask to see a copy of her quotes (fine) or a journalist may want to send an excerpt to a source to ensure accuracy (also fine). However, sources should never get final sign off on a piece before it is published.
2. Fictitious content
NewsBreak allows for the publication of fiction and/or satire but only when it is properly labeled as such and not presented as fact. These designations must be clearly labeled in the headline by the Contributor.
Information published that contains fiction or satire but is improperly labeled may result in immediate termination from the platform.
Contributors may edit video to improve technical quality for color correction or to add graphics in post production. Editorial manipulation of videos to deliberately mischaracterize an event or subject is strictly prohibited.
Contributors also may not edit video in such a way that content appears out of context and changes the meaning of the material.
NewsBreak also prohibits the use of video captured surreptitiously with malicious intent or in any manner that violates law. This includes, but is not limited to, filming someone without their permission in an embarrassing or inappropriate environment. Surveillance video or doorbell camera footage does not fall within this category if it films property open or accessible to the public.
Deep fakes are prohibited unless it is the subject of the story itself and clearly labeled as such for the audience.
All editing of photos must be done in service of restoring their accuracy. Cropping and small adjustments to tone and color density are acceptable as long as it doesn’t alter the meaning of the photo. For example, cropping an individual out of a photo to intentionally be misleading is prohibited.
Contributors who airbrush or photoshop images must indicate that in the caption.
Deep fakes are prohibited.
In photos or video, Contributors must blur faces of minors unless the child’s photo has been released by law enforcement to assist in investigation of the crime or Contributors obtain the parents’ permission. We also ask Contributors blur faces of alleged victims in certain circumstances such as stories about sexual assault where the accuser wishes to remain anonymous.
Conflicts of Interest
Contributors should avoid even the appearance of conflicts of interest to preserve the integrity of their storytelling and the credibility of the platform.
Contributors should avoid reporting on friends or family unless it is essential to the telling of a story. In such cases, these ties must be disclosed at the top of the story.
Contributors should not accept gifts from sources of coverage and if they do must disclose that conflict of interest in accordance with NewsBreak’s promotions policies.
For Contributors who receive goods or services in order to review them, they must disclose that they are the recipient of a free service at the top of the post.
Contributors should refrain from covering subject matter from which they would directly benefit. If unavoidable, the conflict must be cited at the top of the story.
For Contributors covering the stock market, they should be mindful of securities laws. For example, if a Contributor writes about a stock with the intention to inflate the price and sell the stock afterward, it could be considered fraud or insider trading.
5. Use of Artificial Intelligence
NewsBreak permits the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to create content provided the contributor discloses the use of such tools. The disclosure must be made at the top of a written story and within the caption of a video. Proper disclosure means a clear and straight forward description, such as: This post includes content written by AI or This post was written entirely by AI.
As a NewsBreak contributor, you are responsible for ensuring the accuracy of any content you submit, including content created with the help of AI. We understand that AI can be a useful tool for creating content, but it is important to remember that it is not error-free. Additionally, excessive use of AI may impact distribution.
The penalties for not complying with these Standards and Guidelines can result in strikes and anything leading up to account suspension or deplatforming.
Thank you for helping to make the NewsBreak community a safe and healthy environment!